ALGER COUNTY — With the busy summer season in full swing, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore continues taking concrete steps to increase emergency rescue capabilities and services in and around the park.
Through a close partnership with the Superior High Angle Rescue Professionals (SHARP), the park continues to increase its technical rope rescue team capabilities. SHARP is an all-volunteer high angle rescue team based out of Munising and led by U.P. native Bill Thompson.
This summer, the park brought in a climbing expert from Yosemite National Park to train park staff and partners in high angle search and rescue. The training focused on increasing the skills and abilities of rescuers in high angle environments such as Miners Castle. The cliffs of Pictured Rocks present complex issues that proper training and strong partnerships can solve, ensuring the safety of park visitors and the local community.
“Increasing visitation and rescue incidents over the past few years along our cliff edges made this training critical for the park. Proper training ensures rescuers have the knowledge and skills necessary to conduct a technical rope rescue assistance when visitors find themselves stuck in these places,” said NPS Search and Rescue Coordinator Eric Paupore.
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore relies on partnerships with local agencies, the climbing community, and SHARP to ensure the park is able to safely provide emergency services including rescues in the high angle environment. As visitation continues to rise, and more visitors need assistance these relationship are more and more critical.
Though Chief Ranger Joseph Hughes reminds all park visitors, “come and enjoy your national park but remember to know your limits, have a plan, and avoid high risk scenarios that may require rescue.”
The park is committed to providing a high quality visitor experience, including necessary emergency services in and around the park areas. The park is actively increasing the number of Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) on staff, adding an additional vessel to increase maritime capabilities, and requiring incident command training to better manage complex incidents.